New Old Sac HISTORIC OLD TOWN IS WORKING HARD TO KEEP PACE WITH DOWNTOWN
BY SCOT CROCKER INSIDE DOWNTOWN
ith all the excitement about the new downtown arena and the surrounding development, Old Sacramento could literally be overshadowed by glitz and glitter. But Old Sac supporters and promoters plan to keep pace.
Old Sac wants more. It wants locals to make Old Sacramento a place for regular visits, dining, entertainment and activities. Old Sacramento is a unique place. It has long been a go-to destination for out-of-town visitors and an attraction for locals when family and friends come to town seeking a taste of the Gold Rush, souvenirs, museum excursions or riverboat rides. But Old Sac wants more. It wants locals to make Old Sacramento a place for regular visits, dining, entertainment and activities.
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“We need to show off how unique Old Sacramento is,” said Terry Harvego, owner of Ten22 restaurant. (His family also owns The Firehouse.) “The history here is unlike anything you’ll find anywhere in the world. But it’s more … There’s a high concentration of retail, local shops and restaurants.” Harvego thinks Old Sacramento has great opportunity for growth, given all the development occurring nearby. In time, the district will be in the middle of a hot entertainment district filled with exciting destinations. “I think we will be back in the minds of locals,” he said. “We have a growing boardwalk and riverfront on one side, the new arena on the other, and railyards
development right next door. Plus, a new connector is being built.” The I-5 Riverfront Reconnection Project, at a cost of $13.5 million, will consist of upgrades to Capitol Mall and O Street, with a new two-lane street on a new bridge connecting Capitol Mall with Second Street in Old Sacramento. The bridge will go north from Capitol Mall from a new intersection a block away from Tower Bridge. City officials are hopeful the project can be completed before the arena, Golden 1 Center, opens in October. Old Sacramento merchants and stakeholders are hoping the bridge, with a pedestrian sidewalk and bike lanes, will make it more convenient for people to get to Old Sacramento
from the other side of I-5, home to state and business workers and other locals. It will also make it easier for out-of-town visitors to find Old Sacramento. (The existing access can be confounding and confusing.) “I’m absolutely optimistic about Old Sacramento,” said Danielle Biller, deputy director of Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “We have an authentic historical experience and viable commercial corridor. Up to this point, Old Sacramento was on the edge of downtown. But with the growth planned, we will be in the center of a new downtown.” The city has contracted with Downtown Sacramento Partnership to perform a variety of services over the years. Now, Old Sacramento